Germany bans Hamas-linked donor group

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Germany on Monday said it had banned an organisation which collects funds for the Islamist movement Hamas, which is included on the European Union's terror group blacklist.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said it had shut down the Frankfurt-based International Humanitarian Aid Organisation (IHH), which he said collected millions of euros in donations for Hamas.

"Under the guise of humanitarian aid, the IHH has long backed, with significant financial assistance, so-called social welfare organisations based in the Gaza Strip that can be linked to Hamas," he said.

"Donations to so-called social welfare groups belonging to Hamas, such as the millions given by IHH, actually support the terror organisation Hamas as a whole."

The European Union has included Hamas on its blacklist of terrorist organisations since 2003 in an effort to block the flow of funds supporting attacks against Israelis.

A German federal court ruled in 2004 that Hamas was a unified organisation whose humanitarian aid work could not be separated from its "terrorist and political activities".

© 2010 AFP

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